Tomorrow, we meet our son.
My friends tell me that parenting goes so fast and yet so slowly all at once. As I sit here on a plane somewhere over the Pacific in a pressure-sealed void between Seattle And Seoul, I’m electric with excitement, nerves and (let me be honest) some serious fear. And all I can do in the small force field of personal space that is my airplane seat is reflect on how much time has gone by and yet, how quickly it has flown.
Our first two supervised visits, followed by the all-important court date, have finally arrived.
Tomorrow, at last, we will meet our son.
When we were matched just shy of one year ago, our baby was a gorgeous thing aged 17 months with a shock of summer-scorched auburn hair and a stomp to rival a Riverdancer. In that first-and-only set of videos we ever received, he looked so exuberant. He couldn’t wait to share his toys with whomever would take them. He talked in loud, incoherent, beautiful bursts as if he just somehow knew exactly, already, that his voice belonged in the world commingling with other voices, slicing through the air, reaching all corners of the globe.
The best part? Each confident-yet-wobbly step he took was announced by a pair of squeaky shoes at least two sizes too big for his feet. Yes, world; he was definitely here. He wanted everyone to know it.
We knew it then, too. Oh my, did we know — and we would never not know it again.
Our little boy has grown so much since the first and only live-action shot we were ever given. Since that initial collection of match correspondence, it has all been still photographs (every two months) and routine medical-examination reports. He turned two last March halfway across the world from his future life. We turned 35 last December halfway across the world from ours. It’s been what seems like ages (and yet, like yesterday) since we first saw him moving, laughing and talking on camera. Tomorrow we will finally learn how he makes his way in the world in real time and in-person. I’ve imagined this moment for so long.
Every day, I’ve replayed the possibilities in my mind: I want fervently to watch his little hands clutch (and probably crush) some puffy snack food thingy before popping it nonchalantly into his mouth. I want to blow bubbles into the air and watch him catch them and then look back as if to say, “Did you see that?” And I want to say, “Yes, I saw it. Let’s do it again. Let’s keep doing it forever and always.”
But it might not be like that. Our social workers have told us that these first couple of meetings may not go how we’ve imagined they would. Instead, they tell us he may be scared, confused or simply disinterested (all normal reactions for any toddler, let alone one put in the position he’s been put in).
If that happens, I think my heart will break a little to know we’ve caused him strife. It will be hard to accept the fact that we are, in the biggest way one can imagine, the people responsible for some of the mental turmoil he will undoubtedly experience over the next several months as we adjust to becoming a family.
And ultimately, because we are not permitted to bring him home on this trip (not until after the Korean court issues an irrevocable decree) it will break our hearts to leave Korea without him.
And so, we’re flying blind tonight.
Until tomorrow, when a moment we’ve been hoping for finally becomes the one we, both joyfully and painfully, can’t unsee.
A Little Bonus: We've been reading up on how to approach your first meeting with an adopted child. My favorite article is from the Creating A Family website, and features Dr. Karyn Purvis. Find it here.
What kinds of thoughts and feelings did you have before you met your son or daughter for the first time? Tell me all about it in the comments.